Politifact Runs Bizarre Fact Check On Bogus Russia Claim

Holmes Lybrand | Fact Check Editor at The Daily Caller News Foundation

Politifact is running two fact checks on a Russia/Trump claim that contradict each other, with one stating that former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s statements regarding 17 intelligence agencies is true, and the other admitting that the number is false.

The news organization originally rated Clinton’s October 2016 claim as “True.” “We have 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military, who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election,” Clinton said.

However, the Daily Caller News Foundation’s fact-check team found this claim to be completely false. Clinton was referencing an intelligence report that only presented the views of three agencies, namely, the FBI, CIA and NSA.

“Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper himself appeared in front of Congress and explicitly pushed back on the idea that ’17 intelligence agencies agreed,’ stating flatly that it was just three,” TheDCNF reported.

The New York Times and Associated Press have both issued corrections to stories that originally claimed the same false 17 intel agencies figure.

Politifact’s editor’s note to the October fact-check makes no mention of the corrected number, instead only referencing a general update.

“We’ve attached an update to this fact-check below in response to reader queries after subsequent testimony by James Clapper. The original fact-check and rating remain unchanged,” the fact-check states.

There is no reference to the mistaken number in the editor’s note, and the false claim from Hillary Clinton remained listed as “True.”

Politifact issued a new fact-check Thursday regarding the 17 intel agencies claim with the title, “17 intelligence organizations or 4? Either way, Russia conclusion still valid.”

In an attempt to justify their “True” rating for Clinton, Politifact cites Carrie Cordero, a counsel at ZwillGen law firm, saying, “In the context of a national debate, her [Clinton’s] answer was a reasonable inference from the DNI statement.”

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Holmes Lybrand

Fact Check Editor at The Daily Caller News Foundation